Eucla, Western Australia

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Eucla
Western Australia
Eucla Road Sign DSC04559.JPG
Road sign
Eucla is located in Western Australia
Eucla
Eucla
Coordinates 31°40′30″S 128°52′59″E / 31.67500°S 128.88306°E / -31.67500; 128.88306Coordinates: 31°40′30″S 128°52′59″E / 31.67500°S 128.88306°E / -31.67500; 128.88306
Population 86 (2006)[1]
Established 1870s (gazetted in 1885)
Postcode(s) 6443
Elevation 93 m (305 ft)
Time zone CWST (UTC+8:45)
Location
  • 1,434 km (891 mi) from Perth
  • 11 km (7 mi) from WA-SA border
  • 492 km (306 mi) from Ceduna
LGA(s) Shire of Dundas
State electorate(s) Eyre
Federal Division(s) O'Connor
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
22.6 °C
73 °F
12.1 °C
54 °F
272.4 mm
10.7 in

Eucla is the easternmost locality in Western Australia, located in the Goldfields-Esperance region of Western Australia along the Eyre Highway, approximately 11 kilometres (7 mi) west of the South Australian border. At the 2006 census, Eucla had a population of 86.[1]

It is the only Western Australian location on the Eyre Highway that has a direct view of the Great Australian Bight due to its position immediately next to the Eucla Pass – where the highway moves out and above the basin known as Roe Plains that occurs between the Madura and Eucla passes.

History[edit]

The name Eucla is believed to originate from an Aboriginal word "Yinculyer" which one source gives as referring to the rising of the planet Venus. It was first used by Europeans for the area at some point before 1867.

In 1841, Edward John Eyre became the first explorer to visit the area. In 1867, the president of the Marine Board of South Australia discovered a port at Eucla,[2] and in 1870, John Forrest camped at the location for nearly two weeks. In 1873, land was taken up at Moopina Station near the present townsite, and work commenced on a telegraph line from Albany to Adelaide. Land was set aside at Eucla for the establishment of a manual repeater station, and when the telegraph line opened in 1877, Eucla was one of the most important telegraph stations on the line. The station was important as a conversion point because South Australia and Victoria used American Morse code (locally known as the Victorian alphabet) while Western Australia used the international Morse code that is familiar today.[3] A jetty and tram line were constructed for offloading supplies brought in by sea. The town was proclaimed a township and gazetted in 1885, and reached its peak in the 1920s, prior to the construction of a new telegraph line further north alongside the Trans-Australian Railway in 1929.[4]

In the 1890s a rabbit plague passed through the area and ate much of the Delisser Sandhills' dune vegetation, thus destabilising the dune system and causing large sand drifts to encroach on the townsite. The original town was abandoned, and a new townsite established about 5 km to the east and higher up on the escarpment. The ruins of the telegraph station still stand amongst the dunes, and are a local tourist attraction.

Many of the pioneer farmers and telegraph operators were buried at Eucla, but as the sand dunes encroached onto their graves, some of the headstones and plaques were removed and can now be seen at the museum at Eucla.

The population of the town was 96 (82 males and 14 females) in 1898.[5]

In 1971, worldwide media publicity came to the town after reports and photographs emerged of a half-naked blonde girl who had gone wild and lived and ran with the kangaroos, who came to be known as the "Nullarbor Nymph". The story subsequently turned out to be a hoax cooked up by the residents of the tiny settlement.[6]

Present day[edit]

Eucla is the largest stopping point between Norseman and Ceduna for travellers and trucks along the Eyre Highway. It has a hotel and restaurant, a golf club (7 km to the north), a museum dedicated to the Old Telegraph Station, and a meteorological station. These together with fishing are the locality's major activities. There is a Travellers Cross that (despite its name) commemorates deceased local people.[7]

Telegraph Station

Time zone[edit]

Eucla and the surrounding area, notably Mundrabilla and Madura, use the Central Western Time Zone of UTC+8:45. Although it has no official sanction, it is universally observed in this area, stopping just to the east of Caiguna.

Transport[edit]

Eucla is a major stop-off point along the Eyre Highway.

In October 2005, Greyhound Australia announced the closure of their Nullarbor service due to rising fuel prices and declining passenger numbers.[8]

Climate[edit]

Eucla has a mild semi-arid climate with pleasant winters and warm summers, though very hot days can occur accompanied by hot northerly winds from the Great Victoria Desert. Average maximum temperatures vary from 25–26 °C (77–79 °F) from December to March, to 18 °C (64 °F) in July. The average annual rainfall of 272.4 millimetres (10.72 in) is evenly spread through the year, with monthly totals ranging from 14.6 millimetres (0.57 in) in January to 31 millimetres (1.2 in) in May. The highest temperature was 48.2 °C (118.8 °F) on 4 January 2013.[9]

Climate data for Eucla
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 48.2
(118.8)
47.4
(117.3)
44.2
(111.6)
40.4
(104.7)
36.3
(97.3)
33.3
(91.9)
28.3
(82.9)
33.1
(91.6)
40.0
(104)
42.9
(109.2)
44.5
(112.1)
45.4
(113.7)
48.2
(118.8)
Average high °C (°F) 25.9
(78.6)
25.7
(78.3)
25.2
(77.4)
23.6
(74.5)
21.1
(70)
18.7
(65.7)
18.0
(64.4)
19.1
(66.4)
21.3
(70.3)
23.1
(73.6)
24.3
(75.7)
24.8
(76.6)
22.6
(72.7)
Average low °C (°F) 16.6
(61.9)
17.0
(62.6)
15.9
(60.6)
13.3
(55.9)
10.5
(50.9)
8.2
(46.8)
7.0
(44.6)
7.4
(45.3)
9.1
(48.4)
11.3
(52.3)
13.4
(56.1)
15.0
(59)
12.1
(53.8)
Record low °C (°F) 3.5
(38.3)
7.8
(46)
6.7
(44.1)
2.0
(35.6)
0.0
(32)
0.0
(32)
−0.6
(30.9)
0.0
(32)
1.1
(34)
1.5
(34.7)
4.1
(39.4)
6.9
(44.4)
−0.6
(30.9)
Precipitation mm (inches) 14.6
(0.575)
18.3
(0.72)
23.0
(0.906)
26.4
(1.039)
31.0
(1.22)
30.2
(1.189)
25.2
(0.992)
26.2
(1.031)
22.4
(0.882)
18.4
(0.724)
18.2
(0.717)
18.5
(0.728)
272.4
(10.724)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.2mm) 3.6 4.7 6.3 7.6 10.2 10.5 10.2 9.8 8.2 6.5 5.6 4.8 88.0
Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology[9]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Eucla (State Suburb)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Western Australian Land Information Authority. "History of country town names". Retrieved 2007-04-17. 
  3. ^ The intercolonial telegraph line at Eucla, accessed 1 April 2007.
  4. ^ Walkabout Australia. "Walkabout – Eucla". Retrieved 2006-10-17. 
  5. ^ "POPULATION OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA.". Western Mail (Perth, Western Australia: National Library of Australia). 22 April 1898. p. 23. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  6. ^ Dora Dallwitz. "The Nullarbor Nymph Hoax". Retrieved 2006-10-17.  – contains scans of media articles, photos and interviews with the locals.
  7. ^ "Travellers Cross". Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  8. ^ "Nullarbor bus service proves too costly". ABC Online (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 10 October 2005. Retrieved 2006-10-17. 
  9. ^ a b "Climate statistics for Eucla". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Saunders, B. A. (2005) Spirit of the desert: the story of Eucla, WA, after the east-west telegraph era Kalgoorlie, W.A.: B.A. Saunders for the Eyre Highway Community Association. ISBN 0-646-44583-9

External links[edit]